Nickel wards off pancreatic cancer

In a study of pancreatic cancer, Spanish researchers found that patients with high concentrations of nickel and selenium were least likely to suffer from the disease.

The findings were published in mid-December in Gut, a scientific journal co-owned by the British Society of Gastroenterology. The lead author was André F. S. Amaral, who works for the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid, Spain.

The study sought to better understand risk factors for exocrine pancreatic cancer. While smoking is a well established risk, researchers also found that that patients with high concentrations of lead, cadmium or arsenic were more likely to have the disease while high concentrations of selenium or nickel were inversely related.

“The study included 118 EPC cases and 399 hospital controls from eastern Spain. Levels of 12 trace elements were determined in toenail samples by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry,” wrote the authors describing how the study was carried out.

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